Miss America, Paula Deen and Pathetic White Racism

White America loves its beauty pageants and butter.

Few things unite white America more than beauty pageants and butter. Therefore, last night, when white America watched with rapt attention as ABC News highlighted the redemption of Paula Deen on the evening news, their joy turned to bitterness as they later tuned in to see their country hijacked, yet again, by non-white subversives.

More specifically, when Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, ran away with the Miss America crown and beat out Sarah Palin fan club favorite Miss Kansas—a god-fearing, gun-toting and very white Theresa Vail—Twitter exploded with slackjaw commentary over race relations in the nation.

Jokes about 7-Eleven, nonsensical conflations of Indians with Arabs, and a chorus of “This is America” blew up the Miss America hashtag. This is white America, indeed.

Since the emergence of hip-hop and rap genres in the nation, white Americans have made the false declaration that saying “N*gger” outright to a black person is the same thing as a rap artist uttering the word as a form of social commentary. Likewise, to these folks, somehow, Ice-T’s brilliant social commentary on police brutality becomes “White people are dogs.”

White America’s illiterate cousins just don’t get it and probably never will.

If white America wants to assert, for instance, that real America is dominated by the white hegemonic culture and make statements like “This is America, not India,” then it logically concedes that white people dominate institutions of power and culture in the nation.

Taking this further, if white people dominate these power structures and represent mainstream culture, then, naturally, they dominate over minority groups.

Consequently, a white person, particularly like Paula Deen, calling a black person a “N*gger” is inherently different than a black rap artist using the same word or even a similar word for white people, a word which does not even exist. Whether this duality of standard is fair is irrelevant; it certainly exists. Fairness, as a reminder, is a concept for the elementary schoolyard and has little utility in adulthood.

Upon the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, “This is America” became a truly meaningless phrase; the actual message of “This is America” depends entirely on the background, intent and perspective of the speaker.

Though, if the “This is America!” brigade wants to enjoy its pathetic, strained victimization by using Paula Deen and Miss Kansas as its St. Sebastians, martyred with the slings and arrows of a world out to get American white people, then they are conceding that racial minorities dominate or threaten structural and cultural systems.

In fact, white people suffer, in these folks’ minds, through Miss Vail’s loss to Miss Davuluri much like, I presume, George Wallace did after his attempted assassination and subsequent loss of movement. Even so, if racial minorities now dominate or threaten structural and cultural systems in this country, then “This is America” makes no sense whatsoever unless uttered as an affirmative, not negative, observation.

These situations make no logical sense unless segments of white America are simply pissy over minorities getting closer to egalitarian peerage with whites; so, white racists are disguising their racist motives in either false equivocation nonsense like equating Paula Deen with Ice-T or illogical claims of victimization like demeaning Miss Davuluri in favor of their preferred candidate. In either case, this is the same single note on the same broken record.

Of course, Miss Vail has nothing to do with those who obsess over her. And, Miss Davuluri has nothing to do with those who might have supported her for no other reason than her race.

Both contestants, unlike Paula Deen, demonstrated a love of country and appreciation for dialogue and difference throughout the lead-up to and during the Miss America Pageant.

Going further, Miss Davuluri is the first Indian American winner of the pageant and, to this gay man, looked fabulous last night. Yet, Miss Vail, while admittedly beautiful herself, represented a tiresome archetype repeatedly rejected in American elections and pop culture trends since 2008.

The fact that some angry white people have a problem with minorities should surprise no one; the fact, though, that we as a society seriously entertain their racist BS should give us serious reflection.

Josh Kruger is a freelance writer and editor based here in Philadelphia.  His work focuses on HIV/AIDS, social stigma, and civil liberties. Read more at joshkruger.com.

[Miss America photo: Mel Evans/AP Photo]

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Keith M. Taylor

    nothing but truth here!

  • bill k

    Miss Kansas is a National Guard sergeant and a beauty pageant contestant and that makes her a tiresome archetype? I don’t think so- it makes her unique. Anyway, it’s a stupid program watched by stupid people of all races and sexual orientations and I am sure Sunday Night Football drew much better ratings.

    • Jane Yavis

      Not a fan of Miss America Pageants, Miss Kansas seemed to have a Sara Palin style schtick that didn’t win her the crown.

      • Azrael

        Actually it did win her the crown, at least according to the court of public opinion, freely expressed by vote.
        It’s just that, like in so many other occasions, the public choice was discarded by the powers to be (no comment needed on them, we all know who and what they are) and another person was elected.

        • Jane Yavis

          Here we go again, My guy lost so it’s someone else’s fault. Those meany powers that be in your private court of Public Opinion. Stop with the Code, we get it.

        • Brandon

          You realize that Miss America is not a democracy, right? It is a judged contest, and the judges get to make the choice.

        • NoPasaran

          Correct. It’s sort of where the drama of the thing really is (and you know this piece is about the quest to find drama) – a panel of statistical outliers appointed as an elite, telling the common man (that they see as horribly “common”) that their impulses (whatever they are,) are wrong.

          They aren’t to blame. They are evidence that society has reached Stage IV of the disease called leftism.

          • Brandon

            Wow, that is quite the claim. Except it is a pageant that has been judged by a panel of judges since its founding in 1921. It was created as a marketing promotion, a completely capitalistic enterprise–and it has been known over the years for its extremely conservative stances. But sure, it’s a liberal conspiracy to keep the common man in his place.

  • ErShava

    I clicked to see if Josh Kruger was white. Yep!

    • Shirtless Geriatic

      Josh Kruger is Jewish and Gay. Of course he’s going to have an agenda against traditional American values.

      • ErShava

        Is that him? yikes

        • Shirtless Geriatic

          No, That’s Jim Goad aka Shirtless Geriatric.

          I screwed up trying to create an avatar picture. My bad.

      • dontburnmoney

        “against traditional American values…”

        Now i understand better why America is the last “hope” of white European racism and militarism. A modern versio of Prussian pro NSDAP Germany.

  • vceross

    This is incoherent. What is the author’s point? He doesn’t even do the basics of providing any concrete details to support what sounds like another tired rant about “all white people.” Good lord, that is as racist as talking about all Indians.

  • JD

    “Few things unite white America more than beauty pageants and butter” is just as racist as comments about 7 Eleven. In your effort to condemn people for applying racial stereotypes, you applied racial sterotypes.

  • Brandon

    We probably agree on 99% of social issues and have the same opinions on a variety of topics, but your assertion that “white America” was united against this young lady is simplistic and tiresome. All of my white friends (or at least the ones that actually know this happened) would be extremely happy for this intelligent and beautiful woman.

  • pearlk123

    True. Check this out. my Aunty Piper just got an almost new
    yellow Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet SUV from only workin parttime on a pc at
    home… check my source w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

  • Stick

    Jeepers, five gay judges pick the diversity pick while the rest of America goes for the American chick. Must be racism alright.

  • NoPasaran

    If you have to mine tweets anonymously left by teenagers for evidence of something you were going to rant about anyway, you don’t belong in the public conversation.

    The idea that there is a monolithic “white America” is about as arbitrary and specious as well. It behooves someone who actually LIVES IN THIS COUNTRY to know a little more about it before opening their pie hole.

  • Bunky

    Josh, are you just another queer boy defending the five queer judges?

  • dontburnmoney

    Let’s not forget that the whole idea of so called “white race” is a myth. It was found to justify why Europeans had “right” to enslave people of color.